Deone Bucannon

Buccaneers Release LB Deone Bucannon

The Buccaneers linebacker Deone Bucannon on Wednesday morning, as ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. Bucannon was preparing to face the Panthers in London this week, but he’ll now have to shift his focus to finding new employment.

Bucannon, a former first round pick of the Cardinals, might not be out of work for long. He offers some dual-position potential as a safety and, despite the ups and downs of his career, is still only 27.

The Bucs were hoping that Bucannon would pay off on an inexpensive one-year, $2.5MM deal. He did not do much to replace Kwon Alexander in his short run, however, and saw just eight snaps through five games.

Last year, Bucannon finished as one of Pro Football Focus’ worst-graded linebackers in a limited sample of 389 snaps. He’s still looking to reprise the 2015 season in which he broke out with 109 tackles, three sacks, and an interception.

NFC South Notes: Payton, Brees, Quinn

The extension that Saints head coach Sean Payton signed last month is a whopper. Payton was making $9MM per year under his previous contract, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the offensive guru will now be pulling down around $13MM per season. That deal is one of the largest among coaches of North American professional sports, and it obviously will put an end to speculation concerning Payton’s long-term future in the Big Easy.

Now for more from the NFC South, starting with the other face of the Saints:

  • Drew Brees is throwing a football again, as shown on a video that the Saints star posted on Instagram. Brees managed to avoid a trip to the IR, and last week we learned that he is making progress in his recovery from thumb surgery. New Orleans is 2-0 with Brees’ backup, Teddy Bridgewater, at the helm, and the club will try to make that 3-0 against Tampa Bay this afternoon. Previous reports suggested that Brees could return for the club’s November 10 matchup with the Falcons.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is on the hot seat, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says an Atlanta loss to the Texans today could expedite Quinn’s ouster. After all, a loss would drop the team to 1-4, and with difficult games against the Rams and Seahawks following the Falcons’ matchup with the Cardinals next week, Atlanta could be looking at a 2-6 record after the first half of the season. Atlanta has three former head coaches on its staff — offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, tight ends coach Mike Mularkey, and receivers coach Raheem Morris — and owner Arthur Blank may be thinking about putting one of them in charge to finish out the season if Quinn can’t right the ship immediately.
  • Greg Auman of The Athletic observes that the Buccaneers could be in line for a third-round compensatory pick to offset the loss of Kwon Alexander in free agency and a fourth-rounder to offset the loss of Adam Humphries. As it currently stands, Tampa Bay signed enough outside free agents to negate those compensatory picks, but given that some of those free agents are underperforming (or barely playing), the Bucs could cut them loose prior to Week 9 to put themselves back on track for the compensatory selections. That means that Deone Bucannon, Breshad Perriman, and Bradley Pinion could all be in danger of being cut.

Contract Details: Smith, James, Wake

The latest details on deals from around the NFL:

Buccaneers To Sign LB Deone Bucannon

Deone Bucannon and Bruce Arians will reunite in Tampa Bay. The sixth-year linebacker intends to sign with the Buccaneers, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

This will be a one-year agreement, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), which makes sense given Bucannon’s struggles during his platform year. The 2014 first-round pick finished as one of Pro Football Focus’ worst-graded linebackers last season, though he only played only 389 snaps in Steve Wilks‘ defense.

The Giants, who employ former Cardinals DC James Bettcher, showed interest in Bucannon, but the Bucs and their gang of ex-Cardinals staffers will attempt to rehabilitate Bucannon’s career.

Bucannon started his pro career as a hybrid linebacker/safety and offers strong coverage skills. Thanks in part to injury problems, he has not been able to replicate his 2015 breakout campaign, when he tallied 109 tackles, three sacks, and an interception. However, he is just 26, and he will attempt to reestablish himself in the middle of a Tampa Bay defense that is now without stalwart Kwon Alexander.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Mathieu, Texans, Bucs, Bennett, Bears

It sounds like the Texans tried to keep Tyrann Mathieu before he ultimately signed with the Chiefs. Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo tweets that Houston offered the safety a long-term deal that would have paid him around $9.5MM per season.

The reporter notes that the Texans and Chiefs were bidding for Mathieu until the end, and Houston’s final offer was close to Kansas City’s. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle writes that the organization was (and, presumably, is) “willing to spend liberally” on a veteran safety, and both general manager Brian Gaine and coach Bill O’Brien wanted to keep Mathieu.

The safety ended up inking a three years worth $42MM with the Chiefs. The Texans have reportedly shifted their focus to other safeties, including Earl Thomas.

Let’s take a look at some additional notes from around the NFL…

  • Besides a safety, McClain notes that the Texans are also hunting for a pass-rushing “inside player.” The team could ultimately look towards the draft if nothing solidifies during free agency.
  • The Buccaneers reached out to linebacker Deone Bucannon, reports Greg Auman of The Athletic (via Twitter). The 26-year-old had spent his entire career with the Cardinals, and he started all of his 41 games between 2015 and 2017. He took a bit of a step back in 2018, compiling 38 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble in 13 games (six starts). The linebacker played with new Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians during their stints in Arizona.
  • Following the Patriots‘ acquisition of Michael Bennett, there were some rumblings that his brother, tight end Martellus Bennett, would come out of retirement and return to New England. However, the Patriots’ new acquisition poured some water on the rumors this evening, saying that the whispers of Martellus coming out of retirement were “fake news” (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). After winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2016, the tight end split the 2017 season between New England and Green Bay.
  • The Bears are expecting a pair of defensive backs to go elsewhere this offseason. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that safety Adrian Amos is “close to having a deal in place elsewhere,” and it sounds like the team is already eyeing potential replacements. Meanwhile, Biggs notes that cornerback Bryce Callahan won’t be back with the Bears after they signed veteran Buster Skrine.
  • Before agreeing to a deal with the Broncos, safety Kareem Jackson was hoping he’d be back in Houston. However, the veteran didn’t receive a whole lot of interest from the Texans, leading to the player feeling “a little disrespected.” “They didn’t even approach me with an offer or any type of deal,” Jackson told Mark Berman of KRIV (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “Obviously, they didn’t want me back or whatever the case may be. I’m not really sure. My agent was never approached by anybody from the Texans organization, so I wasn’t offered a deal of any sort. I kind of feel a little disrespected to be honest about it. At the end of the day, no hard feelings. I had a great nine years here. This will always be home for me. I definitely appreciate all the memories and all the opportunities. I appreciate the fans and everything I was able to build here. I’ll always have love for Houston.”

Giants Interested In LB Deone Bucannon

The Giants have expressed interest in linebacker Deone Bucannon, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (on Twitter). Bucannon played under Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher in Arizona and offers familiarity with his system. 

Bucannon started his career as a hybrid linebacker/safety and offers strong coverage skills. Still, the Cardinals have not been able to get much from him in recent years and tried to move him at last year’s trade deadline. Bettcher may feel that he’s in position to get the most out of Bucannon and the Giants’ front office is at least open to the idea of signing him.

Last year, Bucannon totaled just 38 tackles and one sack across 13 games (six starts). But, in the past, he has shown flashes of brilliance. In 2015, his sophomore year as a pro, the Washington State product tallied 109 tackles, three sacks, and an interception.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals GM Downplays Trade Rumors

The Cardinals are reportedly shopping Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick, but GM Steve Keim is doing his best to throw cold water on the hot stove talk. In a radio interview on Friday, Keim issued a general denial towards trade speculation regarding his team. 

One part of my job is to have dialogue with other teams,” Keim said said on 98.7, Arizona’s Sports Station (via the team website). “The one thing I won’t do, I won’t confirm or deny those things in public, I think you do those things behind the scenes. But it’s a lot of gossip, people enjoy it, it’s water-cooler talk, and a lot of stuff you’ll read is certainly false. Wednesday I woke up to three different names that were brought to my attention and those conversations never happened. So I would just say, for most fans, tread lightly, because very rarely are those accurate.”

It would make plenty of sense for the Cardinals to explore the trade market between now and Oct. 30. With a 1-4 record, the Cards are the current odds-on favorite to wind up with the worst record in the draft. The defense is in the bottom third of the league in both yards allowed and scoring, and the offense has failed to properly utilize one of the league’s most talented offensive weapons in David Johnson, so this would be the logical time for a reboot.

Keim knows this, and that’s why he is looking to preserve team morale without explicitly ruling out any deal.

Some of the names brought up to me will do nothing but bring a chuckle out of me,” Keim said. “You have to listen. You never know what the compensation is going to be. It might be something you couldn’t resist. You look back at the Heschel Walker trade with Dallas, you can never say never. … Sometimes, there’s a lot of procrastination, where you’ll call and there are a lot of conversations that go nowhere, unfortunately. But it’s part of the business and a fun one for fans to follow.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Shopping Deone Bucannon

The Cardinals are “stepping up their efforts” to trade former first-round pick Deone Bucannon before the deadline, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets. JLC reported that Bucannon was on the block over the weekend, but it sounds like the Cardinals are pushing even harder now to get a deal done. 

Bucannon was a first-round pick of the Cardinals in 2014 and broke out in 2015 with a team-high 112 tackles plus three sacks and three forced fumbles. Injuries have slowed him down since then, and he has failed to find a consistent role in coach Steve Wilks‘ defense. Bucannon saw time on 66.57% of the Cards’ defensive snaps last year, but has played on just 53.04% of Arizona’s snaps this year. Over the last three weeks, he’s been in on less than a quarter of the plays.

The Cardinals are 1-4 and also have Haason Reddick on the block, so they could be extremely active between now and the Oct. 30 trade.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Haason Reddick, Deone Bucannon On The Trade Block?

The Cardinals drafted former Temple standout Haason Reddick with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft in the hopes that his explosive athleticism would serve him well as a pass rusher and as a run stopper. But Reddick’s development has not gone as planned, as he has played just 30 defensive snaps in the first four weeks of the 2018 season and has struggled to grasp new head coach Steve Wilks‘ defense.

Reddick lost his job as the team’s starting strong side linebacker to veteran journeyman Gerald Hodges, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says that there does not appear to be any change in that regard moving forward. As such, La Canfora writes that other teams are considering a possible trade for Reddick, whose potential is still quite high. While it does not sound as though the Cardinals are actively shopping Reddick, La Canfora says they are generally “willing listeners,” so they may be fielding a lot of calls as we get closer to the October 30 trade deadline.

Another former first-round pick, Deone Bucannon, enjoyed plenty of success during his four-year run with the Cardinals from 2014-17. But like Reddick, Bucannon is not being utilized very much in Wilks’ scheme, which is not a great fit for his smaller body type and his hybrid safety/linebacker skills. Bucannon is eligible for free agency this offseason, and he would probably welcome a trade to a team that can make better use of his skill-set during this pivotal year in his career. Indeed, La Canfora says Bucannon will generate a lot of trade interest as well in the next few weeks.

The 0-4 Cardinals will not be competing for a playoff spot this year, and if they are committed to Wilks in the long-term, it may make sense for them to move Reddick and Bucannon in exchange for draft capital that they can use in their rebuild.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Notes: Rosen, Golden, LBs, Smith

With the Cardinals‘ prospects for a playoff berth looking as bleak as they have in a September since before Carson Palmer arrived, noise around the team beginning the Josh Rosen era has obviously increased. Arizona’s Sam Bradford-led attack did not cross midfield until the fourth quarter against the Rams, and the Cards have just six points this season — the fewest of any team through two games since the 2006 Buccaneers. However, don’t count on a Rosen in-game promotion if Arizona’s struggles continue against the Bears on Sunday. While Steve Keim said (via Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic) the first-round pick “has got to be ready,” he would prefer Steve Wilks give him a full week of first-string reps rather than throw him into the fire. As for Wilks, he does see the UCLA product making strides. Rosen was billed as the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft yet will be the last to see action of his first-round peers.

Number one, I think the guy is progressing,” Wilks said during an interview with Sirius XM’s Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan. “He does a great job each and every week trying to prepare himself. He does get some reps with the ones each and every week, so from that standpoint, it’s good. And then he does an excellent job just as far as running the show team as well, so his operation each week is with the ones as well as on the show team. Prep has been good.

“When the time is right, we’ll definitely get him in there.”

Here’s the latest out of the desert:

  • Markus Golden and Jermaine Gresham appear on track to make their 2018 debuts. Both players progressed to full practices this week for the first time this year, per McManaman. Golden’s been out since Week 4 of last season because of an ACL tear. Gresham hasn’t played since Week 17, when the tight end ruptured an Achilles’ tendon. Both began camp on the PUP list. This will be Gresham’s age-30 season, and it’s even more critical for Golden. The edge rusher is set to begin a contract year, so showing he’s recovered from the severe knee injury will be paramount for his stock. Golden finished with 12.5 sacks in 2016. Both players are listed as questionable for Sunday.
  • The Cardinals’ new 4-3 defense has looked more like a 4-2-5 look thus far, and that’s resulted in Haason Reddick seeing sparse action in his second season. The 2017 first-rounder’s played only 17 snaps thus far. The Cards’ 2014 first-rounder, Deone Bucannon, was benched against the Rams, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic notes. Bucannon’s been a full-time starter at either safety or linebacker since his rookie year. Bucannon is also in a contract year. Josh Bynes leads Cardinals linebackers with 141 snaps, and Pro Football Focus tabbed him as the No. 10 overall ‘backer through two games. Bucannon sits 70th on that list, mostly due to Week 1 struggles. Nomad defender Gerald Hodges replaced Bucannon in Week 2.
  • Andre Smith remains out for Arizona because of an elbow injury, meaning John Wetzel will start again for the Cards in Week 3, McManaman notes. Considering Khalil Mack frequently lines up opposite right tackles, this poses another problem for a Cards team that’s experienced many thus far this season.